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72 Hours Of Adventure In Salt Lake City, Utah

Explore one of the best outdoor cities in the West.

By: Lindsay Daniels + Save to a List

There are so many incredible outdoor opportunities in Salt Lake City. That’s why this three day adventure is full of diversity. Whether you’re coming in the dead of winter or the dog days of summer, there is always adventure to be had. You’re not going to see it all in three days, but you’ll definitely get a taste of what Salt Lake is all about.

Day 1 - Friday

Photo: Lindsay Daniels

Start your morning with some original Belgium waffles at Bruges Waffles (Location: Downtown, 336 300 S. or Sugar House, 2314 S Highland Drive). The owner, originally from Bruges, started making these waffles out of a food cart for the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market. Now they have multiple locations and seem to have made addicts out of all the locals. Don’t forget to add the crème fraîche!

Photo: Lindsay Daniels

Get your climbing gear ready and head to either Big Cottonwood Canyon or Little Cottonwood Canyon. LCC offers some of the most coveted climbing in the West and carries with it a rich history. With tall granite walls, flaring cracks and slabby climbing, it has become a locals playground and a training crag for big wall granite climbing. Pick up a guide book on Little Cottonwood Canyon Climbing or check out some of the climbs on Mountain Project. There are climbs for everyone in this canyon, from bouldering to sport to trad. Bring a lunch and plenty of water. There are plenty of spots to set up a picnic. Just beware of squirrels and deer. Don’t leave your food out and unattended.

On your way back down the canyon, stop off at Porcupine Grill and enjoy a well deserved drink and warm meal. Everything is good, so you really can’t go wrong here.

Day 2 - Saturday

Photo: Colton Marsala

Grab a granola bar and set off early to enjoy one of the best mountain bike rides in the Wasatch - Ride Down the Wasatch Crest Trail. If you only have one car, leave it at the park and ride at 3900 S. & Wasatch Blvd and hitch a ride with Big Rack Shuttle for $12 per person. If you didn’t bring your bike, check out Wild Rose Mountain Sports (702 3rd Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103) for bike rentals.

Once your empty belly has made it back to your car, you’ll be minutes away from one of the best, most filling burritos in the valley. Hectors, on 2901 E 3300 S, is a local favorite, and a perfect way to end a mountain bike adventure. Take some time to peruse some of the adventure shops along 3300 South. Salt Lake’s original skate and snowboard shops, Saltypeaks and Milo Sport, have been around since the 80’s and brought with them a culture of stoke. IME (International Mountain Equipment) is one of the best climbing shops in the valley, and the staff really know their stuff. They are the type who can give you beta on your next climb or just talk about adventures.

Photo: Colton Marsala

For sunset, head up to the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon and take a 1 mile hike to the not-so-secret, Cecret Lake. If the weather cooperates, you’ll get a nice show of alpenglow on Devil’s Castle with a beautiful alpine lake in the foreground. It doesn’t get much better than that!

If you’re still up for some more fun, finish off the night with dinner, drinks and a movie at Brewvies Cinema Pub. Known for their local craft beers and good food, you can really have it all at this theater. Check out their website to see what’s playing.

Day 3 - Sunday

Photo: Lindsay Daniels

Sunday’s are a perfect day for a drive. Stock up on snacks and take the 1.5 hour drive out to Antelope Island to see abundant wildlife and the beautiful Great Salt Lake. After all, a visit to Salt Lake City isn’t complete without visiting its namesake.

For lunch, eat at the Island Buffalo Island Grill and take in the ocean-like views, just off the shore. After exploring the island a bit, rent a kayak from Gonzo Boat Rentals and Tours and take to the open sea. There’s nothing quite like kayaking on the Great Salt Lake.

Photo: Seth Wheldon

After making your way back to the city, finish off your trip by taking a short night hike up to Ensign peak to take in the beautiful city views.

Cover photo: Lindsay Daniels

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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